The Louisville men’s basketball team has landed its second — and likely not last — transfer of the offseason.
Jarrod West, who spent the last four seasons playing for Dan D’Antoni at Marshall, will be a Cardinal in 2021-22. West chose U of L over fellow finalists Pittsburgh and Ohio State.
“I think the fit, the opportunity, how much they’ve shown that they want me, and the stage that they’re on is all a part of the reason I chose Louisville,” West told Stockrisers. “Coach Mack believes that they have the pieces to compete for championships and that’s something that excites me.”
West is a 5’11, 180-pound combo guard coming off probably the best overall season of his college career to date. In 2020-21, he posted averages of 12.5 points, 6.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting career-bests of 45.8 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three. His assist and steals averages were the best in all of Conference USA.
If there is a major concern with West (outside of his size), it’s that — unlike Carlik Jones a year ago — his numbers against quality competition have not been great.
In 2019-20, West scored just five points in a loss to nationally-ranked Florida and turned the ball over five times in a loss to a subpar Notre Dame team. Marshall did not face a power conference team this past season, but in two games against Western Kentucky — the C-USA team with the highest-level of size and talent — West went a combined 6-of-25 from the field and was 2-of-11 from three.
West isn’t a lightning quick guard, but he is a solid ball-handler and a good passer who I think will remind Louisville fans of Christen Cunningham in that regard. He’s also the reliable outside shooter that the Cardinals could have desperately used this past season.
The other interesting thing about this addition is that West is yet another Cardinal guard who has been more effective playing off the ball in his college career. Since that seems to be a trend with Louisville’s current (and potential) crop of guards for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how Mack and this Cardinal staff opt to utilize him. Much of that likely depends on how the rest of the roster shapes out over the weeks ahead.
Defensively, West has made up for his lack of size in college by having lightning quick hands. He has averaged better than 2.0 steals per game in each of the last three seasons, and led all of Conference USA in thefts this past year.
Chris Mack’s system obviously doesn’t emphasize steals (303rd in the country in steal rate this past season), but West’s steals have typically been more the product of aggressive on-ball defense than they have been consistently taking high risks and trying to jump passing lanes. That being the case, I think he may have a better time adjusting to the defensive philosophy here than a guy like, say, Darius Perry did.
Still, the last three seasons, Louisville’s lack of size has hurt it defensively in games against taller ACC guards, who have more times than not been able to simply shoot over their counterparts in half-court sets. The addition of West isn’t going to do anything to counteract that problem, at least not unless a shift in defensive philosophy is on the horizon, which I can’t imagine.
Overall, Louisville is getting a solid scoring and passing guard who will help space the floor and also hopefully bring more of the “bulldog mentality” that U of L has been lacking in recent years.
Welcome abord, Jarrod.